390 chem­i­cal weapon al­le­ga­tions recorded in Syria since 2014

Fol­low­ing joint week­end airstrikes by the U.S., U.K. and France on re­ported As­sad regime chem­i­cal weapons fa­cil­i­ties in Syria, the OPCW re­ported more than 390 al­le­ga­tions of chem­i­cal weapon use

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Regional -

THE GLOBAL chem­i­cal arms watch­dog yes­ter­day opened emer­gency talks on the sus­pected poi­son gas at­tack in the Syr­ian town of Douma as more than 390 al­le­ga­tions of chem­i­cal weapon use in Syria have been recorded since 2014 by the Or­ga­ni­za­tion for the Pro­hi­bi­tion of Chem­i­cal Weapons (OPCW), an in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tion that over­sees the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Chem­i­cal Weapons Con­ven­tion.

The Krem­lin yes­ter­day dis­missed as “ground­less” claims that Rus­sia and Syria have not al­lowed a fact-find­ing mis­sion by the world’s chem­i­cal weapons watch­dog to enter Douma to probe an al­leged gas at­tack.

“We con­sider such ac­cu­sa­tions against Rus­sia to be ground­less,” Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, adding that Moscow was in fa­vor of “an im­par­tial in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

“It is the lack of ap­proval by the U.N. Depart­ment for Safety and Se­cu­rity for OPCW ex­perts to visit the site in Douma that is the prob­lem,” Rus­sian Deputy For­eign Min­is­ter Sergei Ryabkov told re­porters, adding that he checked just a short while ago what was de­lay­ing their visit.

Ear­lier, Britain’s em­bassy to the Nether­lands said Rus­sia and Syria had not yet al­lowed a team from the OPCW to enter Douma, where an at­tack on April 7, al­legedly us­ing chlo­rine and sarin, killed at least 40 peo­ple.

OPCW chief Ah­met Üzümcü had briefed emer­gency talks about the de­ploy­ment of the team, which ar­rived Satur­day in Da­m­as­cus.

Moscow has vowed not to in­ter­fere in the team’s work and hit out at the United States, say­ing the week­end strikes by the US, France and Britain on three fa­cil­i­ties in Syria were a bid “to un­der­mine the cred­i­bil­ity” of the mis­sion.

More than 390 al­le­ga­tions of chem­i­cal weapon use in Syria have been recorded by OPCW since 2014, the Bri­tish en­voy to the group said yes­ter­day. Douma was the last op­po­si­tion hold­out in the Eastern Ghouta en­clave, which was the tar­get of a regime of­fen­sive in Fe­bru­ary and March that killed hun­dreds and dis­placed tens of thou­sands of peo­ple.

“The Syr­ian regime has an ab­hor­rent record of us­ing chem­i­cal weapons against its own peo­ple,” said Peter Wil­son, adding that the use of chem­i­cal weapons “has be­come an all-too-reg­u­lar weapon of war in the Syr­ian con­flict.”

The state­ment came af­ter the As­sad regime al­legedly car­ry­ing out a chem­i­cal at­tack in Douma, Syria that killed 78 civil­ians and in­jured hun­dreds of oth­ers.

Wil­son said the U.K. is clear about who is re­spon­si­ble for the atroc­ity. “A sig- nif­i­cant body of in­for­ma­tion, in­clud­ing in­tel­li­gence, in­di­cates the Syr­ian regime is re­spon­si­ble for this lat­est at­tack,” he said.

“Open-source ac­counts al­lege a bar­rel bomb was used to de­liver the chem­i­cals, and a regime he­li­copter was seen above Douma on the evening of April 7,” he added.

Wil­son said: “Re­li­able in­tel­li­gence in­di­cates that Syr­ian mil­i­tary of­fi­cials co­or­di­nated what ap­pears to be the use of chlo­rine in Douma on 7 April,” adding, “No other group could have car­ried out this at­tack.”

He un­der­lined that the world has seen the “har­row­ing images of men, women and chil­dren ly­ing dead with foam in their mouths” and “first-hand ac­counts from NGOs and aid work­ers have de­tailed burns to the eyes, suf­fo­ca­tion and skin dis­col­oration, with a chlo­rine-like odor sur­round­ing the vic­tims.”

Rub­ble lines a street in Douma, the site of a sus­pected chem­i­cal weapons at­tack, near Da­m­as­cus, Syria, April 16.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Turkey

© PressReader. All rights reserved.